Cees van Dam

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Cees van Dam

Air Passenger Rights

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Cees van Dam is a leading expert in European Air Passenger Rights. For everyone who flies he wrote Air Passenger Rights, a practical guide for air passengers. In 2011, he published the world’s first smartphone App on Air Passenger Rights. Download the App here for Apple and here for Android.

Airlines are not very fond of Cees van Dam. And they don’t like his Air Passenger Rights guide because it explains too clearly what passengers are entitled to. Airlines prefer to decide that themselves. No wonder they also dislike his Air Passenger Rights App!

The Guide and the App give a wealth of practical information for frequent, occasional and once-in-a-lifetime flyers. With the App or the Guide you have the information you need at hand if something goes wrong at the airport: flight cancellation, flight delays, denied boarding, luggage delays, luggage damage, etc, etc.

ACTIVITIES (updated until 2011)

13 October 2011

In 'Rodriguez', the European Court clarified that a flight is also cancelled when it takes off and subsequently returns to the airport of departure. It confirmed that passengers who did not receive assistance (hotels, meals) can claim reimbursement of the costs incurred or file a claim for non-material damage.

Air Passenger Rights: EU cases

6 October 2011
Air & Space Law published Cees van Dam's article ‘Air Passenger Rights after Sturgeon’. In this article, he concludes that the European Court will confirm its decision in Sturgeon because the decision is compatible with both the Montreal Convention and the Grand Chamber decision in IATA. This conclusion is in line with the opinion he published on this website in January 2010.
Air & Space Law - Opinion 2010

31 August 2011

Three new preliminary questions added to the pending cases on Regulation 261/2004 in Luxembourg

>> Air Passenger Rights: Pending Cases

30 June 2011

Cees van Dam published his Book on Air Passenger Rights. It can be purchased at Amazon.

>> Air Passenger Rights: The Book

4 June 2011
Cees van Dam upgraded his App on Air Passenger Rights for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

21 April 2011
Cees van Dam launched his App on Air Passenger Rights. It is available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, and can be downloaded in the App Store - it’s free for the time being.

9 January 2011 

Just another example of how airlines work - and of how they can be encouraged to pay

For many airlines, Passenger Rights are an inconvenient truth. A German survey (English summary) shows that most airlines do not treat passengers’ claims fairly. Often, the policy is to put off passengers by not responding to letters or refusing claims without giving proper reasons.

Here is just another example of how airlines work - and of how they can be encouraged to pay...

On Sunday 26th September 2010, my Lufthansa flight LH3690 (Munich-Geneva) was cancelled. I was told that this was due to a lack of crew. I was duly rerouted but I neither received information about my Passenger Rights nor a voucher for a meal.

Back home I asked Lufthansa for compensation (letter).

After almost two months, Lufthansa replied with a muddled letter, arguing that the crew sickness was ‘unforeseen', that these were ‘circumstances beyond their control' and that ‘EU regulations do not provide for compensation in this event’

Crew sickness as an ‘extraordinary circumstance’. How can you make that up?

I wrote Lufthansa that their reason for refusing me compensation did not make sense, that I was going to file a complaint with the Luftfahrtbundesamt, and that I intended to publish their letter with my comments on my website. Unlike in my first letter, I disclosed my academic titles (letter). I wrote:
“Crew problems are not an extraordinary circumstance. Your letter is, in fact, a testimonium paupertatis for which every proper airline would be ashamed. If Lufthansa does not have a contingency plan for completely foreseeable events it does not take its passengers seriously. Neither does Lufthansa take its passengers seriously by writing letters like this.'

Within two weeks, Lufthansa reconsidered my claim and decided to pay compensation. There was no time to lose: the letter was written on New Year’s Eve and the money transferred on the same day.

For many airlines passengers are just bums on seats. They deny passengers what they are legally entitled to. And write letters that don’t make sense. If they bother to write at all. Lufthansa does reply to passengers’ letters. Great. Now they need to find a way to get it right in their first letter. I am happy to be of further help.

<< 18 November 2010 >>

Cees van Dam spoke at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law on ‘Passengers’ Rights in the EU: Sturgeon and the Member States’. 

The event highlighted recent national decisions in The Netherlands and Germany that confirmed the Sturgeon decision of the Court of Justice, despite opposition from various airlines across Europe. It also discussed the UK High Court of Justice’s reference to the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling concerning the application of the Regulation to delayed flights in TUI Travel plc et al v The Civil Aviation Authority. Cees van Dam concluded that the European Court would either declare the reference inadmissible or declare the reference admissible and confirm its Sturgeon case law.

<< 14 July 2010 >>

Dutch courts once again confirm that the Sturgeon decision of the European Court of Justice must be followed and that passengers are entitled to compensation if their flight has a delay of over three hours dismissing all arguments put forward by the airlines.

In the The Hague case TUI/ArkeFly were represented by Van Traa Advocaten submitting opinions by Professor Francis Jacobs (former Advocate-General European Court of Justice and Visiting Professor King's College London), David Anderson QC (Brick Court Chambers and Visiting Professor King's College London) and Herbert Smith.

EUclaim was represented by law firm De Bont en Bos basing its submissions on opinions by Professor Cees van Dam (Visiting Professor King's College London).

District Court The Hague (unofficial English translation)

District Court Haarlem (unofficial English translation)

<< 15 April 2010 >>

After the German Bundesgerichtshof (18 February 2010), the Handelsgericht in Vienna also follows the decision of the Europan Court of Justice in Sturgeon (19 November 2009), granting compensation to delayed passengers.

Decision Handelsgericht Wien (in German)

<< 18 February 2010 >>

The German Bundesgerichtshof (German Federal Court) decides in line with the Sturgeon-decision of the European Court of Justice of 19 November 2009 that passengers with a delay of three hours or more are entitled to compensation. The BGH dismisses the arguments raised by the airlines. Cees van Dam predicted this decision in his opinion of 25 January 2010.

Press release BGH (in German)

Decision BGH (in German)

<< 25 January 2010 >>

After the Sturgeon judgment of the European Court of Justice of 19 November 2009 airlines refuse to pay compensation to passengers with a delay of three hours or more. Cees van Dam makes clear that their arguments are unfounded. He concludes that the airlines' refusal implies that they continue to violate European passenger rights and only aim to delay paying compensation for delayed passengers. On the basis of Cees van Dam's report EUclaim sent a few thousand files to the Dutch airlines regulator that will now enforce the Court's judgment and can impose fines of up to € 74.000.

Compensation for Passengers of Delayed FlightsEUclaim

<< 18 December 2009 >>

Comment on the European Court’s Sturgeon decision of 19 November 2009 regarding passengers' rights in case of delay.

Airlines Once Again Bite the Dust Before the European Court

<< 15 December 2009 >>

The European Commission launches a public consultation regarding the future of air passenger rights. The public consultation will remain open until 1 March 2010 through the Commission website and will be closed by a public conference to be held in Brussels in Spring 2010.

European Commission



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